The police yesterday questioned a 72-year-old woman for allegedly issuing a false warning of two instances where “something bad was going to happen” at the Zuoying High Speed Rail station, with the assertion based on the woman’s personal meditation.
Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp (THSRC) said that the company received a telephone call from an anonymous informant on Wednesday, who told the railway operator that she “sensed” in her meditation that something would happen between 6pm and 7pm on Wednesday and again yesterday at the Greater Kaohsiung station.
The company said that the informant refused to disclose further details on the possible danger, adding that she simply asked the company to watch out and hoped it would keep the information to itself so as not to scare people.
The THSRC said it immediately turned the information over to the Railway Police Bureau, which in turn enhanced patrols at the eight High Speed Rail stations from Wednesday night.
Railway station staff and onboard crew were also on high alert due to the report, the company said.
Chang Hsing-hua (張興華), Railway Police Bureau captain of detectives in Greater Kaohsiung, said that they tracked the woman, surnamed Chen (陳), to Pingtung County yesterday morning based on the telephone number associated with the telephone call.
“She appeared to be mentally stable during interrogation and looked worried that the thing she said she had sensed might still happen,” Chang said.
Chang said that their investigation showed that Chen has been practicing Buddhism for years. He said that Chen was meditating at 3pm in her home in Pingtung, at which time she said she sensed that that many ghosts were hovering around Zuoying station.
She then called the station and warned members of the staff there.
“She kept stressing that she would feel sorry for the rest of her life if something did happen and she did not speak up,” Chang said.
The police said that the telephone call had caused the rail system to go into panic mode.
Though Chen claimed that she was simply warning the company “out of goodwill,” she might face charges of interference with public order, the police added.
In other developments, the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) said that it would fine a group of graduates from Kao Yuan University who sat on railway tracks in their caps and gowns while posing for a photograph.
The nation’s largest railway operator said that the students had violated the Railway Act (鐵路法) and could be the fined NT$300 to NT$3,000.
The Railway Police Bureau has launched an investigation to determine if the students’ behavior endangered public safety, the administration said.
“The students disregarded their own safety as well as that of railway passengers and put the railway operation in great danger,” the TRA said. “It set a bad example for the public.”